Population pyramids and us


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Population pyramids and us

  1. 1. Population Pyramids and Us<br />Overview:<br />When geographers want to examine the population of a given area, they may employ maps to help them see distribution patterns or employ photographs to analyze cultural activities. When geographers want to examine the structure of a population and the potential for growth in that population, they turn to a basic tool in demography: the population pyramid. Just as a builder uses a blueprint for depicting the structure of a house, a geographer uses a population pyramid as a blueprint for interpreting the dynamics of a population. <br />Connections to the Curriculum:<br />Geography, social studies <br />Connections to the National Geography Standards:<br />Standard 9: "The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface" <br />Time:<br />Two to three hours <br />Materials Required:<br />Computer with Internet access or census data in print <br />Graph paper <br />Pens or pencils <br />Objectives:<br />Students will <br />understand the demographic structure of a population; and <br />be able to describe population structure using population pyramids. <br />Geographic Skills:<br />Organizing Geographic Information Answering Geographic Questions Analyzing Geographic Information <br />S u g g e s t e d   P r o c e d u r e <br />Opening:<br />Conduct a class discussion on this question: "What types of geographic questions can be answered by studying a population’s age and gender composition?" Relevant topics include marketing, housing, health, politics, and education. After assembling a list of questions, discuss exactly what types of demographic data would be useful in answering them. <br />Development:<br />Show your class examples of population pyramids from the U.S. Census site. Then use data for the United States to create a population pyramid on an overhead transparency or on the blackboard. Walking students step-by-step through the process will help them in the next phase of the lesson. <br />Explain that population pyramids: <br />graphically display a population's age and gender composition; <br />are bar graphs; <br />show numbers or proportions of males and females in each age group; <br />show gains of cohort members due to immigration and birth, and loss of cohort members due to emigration and death; and <br />reflect population growth or decline. <br />Closing:<br />Depending on the focus of your curriculum, choose one of the following activities <br />Have students work with a partner to create population pyramids of their home state, province, or country and a nearby metropolitan area. <br />Have students work with a partner to create population pyramids of two locations that provide a contrast in age structure. For example, U.S. students might compare Florida and Alaska. <br />Suggested Student Assessment:<br />Give your students a population pyramid for a metropolitan area, state, province, or country. Ask them to examine the population pyramid, describe the characteristics of the population, and identify the services necessary to serve this population over the next 10 to 15 years. <br />Extending the Lesson:<br />For country-to-country comparisons, especially between developed and developing countries, turn to the Population Reference Bureau's "Pyramid Building" lesson. <br />Have students compare the types and ease of use of demographic information available from almanacs, library books, and Internet sites. <br />Jody Smothers Marcello of Blatchley Middle School in Sitka, Alaska, contributed classroom ideas for Standard 9. <br />Related Links:<br />GeoHive: Country Data IndexPopulation Reference BureauU.S. Census Bureau<br />